Ensuring the level of care is consistent for patients in metropolitan and regional and rural areas is the aim of a new diploma a North-West specialist anaesthetist has assisted in developing.
North-West anaesthetist and associate professor Deborah Wilson has helped develop the new rural generalist anaesthesia qualification with the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists, the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and the Royal Australian College of GPs.
"[The diploma will] ensure that we have consistent standards across anaesthesia, irrespective of whether the anaesthesia is provided in a tertiary centre in a big city or in a rural area," Dr Wilson said.
"When we look at the general practice anaesthetists that we are training we know about 90 per cent of those will end up in rural and remote areas.
"It is an important workforce initiative to improve access to anesthetic services for people in rural and remote areas."
The colleges have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the one-year diploma which will start in 2023.
Graduates will be able to deliver safe anaesthesia and perioperative care in rural and remote settings for some elective and emergency surgery including obstetric and paediatric procedures and the resuscitation and stabilisation of patients for transfer.
The diploma will be available to rural generalist registrars seeking formal training and certification in anaesthesia who are enrolled in the fellowship of the ACRRM training program and/or the RACGP fellowship of advanced rural general practice training program.
Dr Wilson has worked as a clinical anaesthetist for 22 years and 12 years with the University of Tasmania on recruiting students to increase the rural workforce.
"We are just starting to see an improvement in the rural workforce across Australia," she said.
"Part of that is an increase in specialists in rural areas, but also the emergence of rural generalists which are general practitioners with special skills.
"This particular diploma will be part of that rural generalist with special skills.
"It is challenging to recruit people to rural areas.
"I am not sure why because it is such a beautiful place and the work is interesting but it is challenging to get the right mix of specialists and general practitioners in rural areas."
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